Posted on 27th November 2017
If you love horses, then you’ll feel an affinity with horse stables. Whether it’s an individual horse stable or a collection, there’s just something about being around the place where horses eat, live, and get prepared for their journeys into the outdoors for either a race or a gentle ride. While all horse stables can be enjoyable, some shine a little brighter than the rest. These are the ones that are the most elegant and grandest in the world — and which also happen to produce the most magnificent horses, be it purely in terms of beauty or on the race track.
The Spanish Riding School in Vienna should be top of the travel list for any horse lover. Indeed, even people who have only a minimal interest in horses will find a trip to the stables will be well worth their time. So what’s all the fuss about? First of all, it has history on its side — it’s been producing horses for more than 450 years and also features on UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity. Its focus is on classical dressage, and, along with Cadre Noir, Royal Andalusian School, and the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art, forms part of “The Big Four” stables that are considered the most prestigious riding academies. It’s not just the horses that draw people in, but the whole package; the Vienna building where the shows occur is truly magnificent.
Is there a stable more famous than Zayat Stables at the moment? It always seems to be in the news, sometimes for positive reasons, at other times because of its controversial owner, Egyptian businessman Ahmed Zayat. One thing’s for sure, however, and that’s that the stables produce winners. People who make horse racing tips know that a horse raised and trained at Zayat will be a contender on race day. After all, Zayat stables always place well in the Kentucky Derby and even had their very own Triple Crown winner — the first since 1978 — in American Pharoah. However, the future of the stables is unclear, given the financial legal battles that Ahmed Zayat faces, yet there’s little doubt that their place in history is cemented.
Another stable that has racing pedigree running through its veins is Calumet Farm, which is based in Lexington, Kentucky. It dates back to 1924 when entrepreneur William Monroe Wright established the stables. Initially, the stables produced Standardbred horses, but it wasn’t long before they transitioned into Thoroughbred racing. Over the years, they became perhaps the best producer of race-winning horses, and though they’ve somewhat lost the dominance they experienced between the 1940s and 1960s, they’re still a major player. Any stables that can count two Triple Crown and eight Kentucky Derby victories will never be too far away from greatness. They also have eleven horses in the Racing Hall of Fame: Alydar, Bewitch, Coaltown, Armed, Real Delight, Twilight Year, Citation, Two Lea, Davona Dale, Tim Tam, Whirlaway all came from Calumet. So yes, you could say that they know a thing or two about the business of horse training.
We all know that the Queen loves horses, but Queen Elizabeth II is far from the only Royal figure to have a connection to horses. The Royal family has a long and prestigious history with all aspects of horsing life, and no place represents that better than Royal Mews. Though it now has a greater scope than just horses (it deals with all the road and travel arrangements of the Royal family), historically, it was a place where horses were bred, and the carriages were kept. There are records of the horses being kept at these sites since 1377! And that’s still the case today. You can take a tour of the stables, though you’ll have to hope that you get lucky because the horses can often be elsewhere (they are working horses, after all). Even if there are no horses to be seen, you’ll find that it’s a delight to walk through the stables that have so much history.
Many stables have functionality at the core of their being. But not The Grand Stables of Chantilly, which is essentially a palace for horses. They’re designed in classic 18th-century style architecture, and truly, it is a remarkable building. They’re the largest stables in Europe and can be a delight to visit. There are horses there, but the site also dives a little deeper and features a museum that outlines the history of humanity’s relationship with horses. There’s also an excellent horse show which combines a little bit of everything, including acrobatics and comedy; it’s a delightful stage show featuring horses, in one of the most beautiful buildings in France. A must-see.
If you want to see the future of horse racing, then you’d be well advised to take a look at Godolphin Stables. They’ve been around since 1992 and have already had plenty of success on the track, but they’re far from content from resting on the laurels. Far from it. The stables are currently undergoing a development that should, if all goes well, ensure that they’re considered among the leaders of horse racing for many years to come. It’s owned by the Ruler of Dubai, a person that certainly knows how to make cash from stables, so they’re able to buy the best horse prospects. It’s not just about money, however — this is a person who loves horses. Their horses are trained by the very best trainers that horse racing has to offer in Dubai during the Winter and in the UK during the Summer. Their most recent major victory was the 2010 St. Leger, when Swynford romped to victory, but it surely won’t be the last. They do, after all, have grand ambitions, and backed by the passion and financial backing of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, you imagine that they might just get what they want.
Erin reviewed May Equine
I have been at Grace’s yard for 2 years now and had 3 different horses there all of which have never ... Read more
Katy Tusz reviewed May Equine
We moved our two geldings here just over a month ago. They settled instantly and love their new surroundings. Everyone ... Read more
Sabine Bordon reviewed GP Equestrian
Our 15 year old son and his very opinionated BWB mare have recently joined GP Equestrian. The relationship between the rider ... Read more
Subscribe today and receive latest Livery List news and guides direct to your inbox